Scooter Culture

By Mona Malacane

The wind in your hair… the buzz of the engine… the easy acceleration… the line of cars stuck behind you… What do these experiences all have in common? Scooters. A topic Alexis Ovitt is fascinated by.

Alexis on her moped

Alexis on her moped

If you are a car commuter in Bloomington you have probably become accustomed to sharing the road with scooters, mopeds, and bikes. What you may not have experienced, however, is what it feels like to be a part of the two wheel culture, one that Alexis recently joined after buying her moped.

Originally from Washington, DC Alexis previously owned a motorcycle.  After buying a moped she noticed that there is something different about scooters that fosters a “scooter culture.” She hopes to film a documentary for one of her classes about the popular

Wick's Wheels on South Walnut

Wick’s Wheels on South Walnut

scooter store, Wick’s Wheels, to try and answer her research question: why scooters?

When I asked her what she thought makes scooters special, she explained that there is something very practical about scooters and mopeds. You can park them on the bike racks, they have excellent mileage (her moped gets 100 miles to the gallon), you do not need a license for mopeds and scooters under 50 ccs, and they are less expensive that owning a car. “[Scooters] aren’t like a motorcycle, [they are] something that is accessible to anyone, anyone can ride one.”

But scooters are more than just practical. “There is something so fun about a scooter but there is also something very romantic about them.” They remind Alexis of going on vacations. (I mean, has anyone ever seen a movie shot in Europe that does not have at least one scene of an Italian or Parisian man on a Vespa weaving through traffic??) Scooters are different and fun! They may remind you of Wile E. Coyote strapping a rocket to his scooter to try to catch the road runner (or at least I do). Sorry to crush dreams here but unfortunately people don’t buy them for speed. Instead, Alexis explains, “It’s all about the acceleration; once you get the taste of it you want more.” But she doesn’t mind the lack of velocity, “I get a lot of pleasure out of riding and I look behind me and I see a quarter mile of cars behind me.”

How it feels sometimes to be stuck behind a moped or scooter.

How it feels sometimes to be stuck behind a moped or scooter.

If you don’t own a scooter and/or have never ridden one, it may be easy to brush them off as merely motorized bicycles. But Alexis sees something else and wants to learn more. What about scooters makes them attractive? “Why are people so interested in them? Why are they so romantic? Why not motorcycles?” These are some of the questions she hopes to answer in her documentary.

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